In the last few years, globalized markets and tough economy have required a double effort from printers to produce to industry recognized output conditions and to reduce their production costs.
On both sides of the Atlantic (and of the Pacific) printers have to adapt to new market realities and challenges once again.
After the Desktop publishing revolution in the eighties, Digital workflows revolution in the nineties, ICC Color management revolution in the first decade of the new century, another new and and inevitable revolution is under way in the second decade: Working to Standards.
What is an ISO Standard
ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is the world's largest developer and publisher of International Standards.
ISO is a network of non-governmental national standards institutes of 162 countries that forms a bridge between the public and private sectors.
An ISO standard is a technical specification describing objectives and sometimes method(s) to achieve them.
There are today over sixteen thousand ISO standards regulating a wide range of industries, including the graphic industry which counts around 100 standards and technical specifications such as: ISO 5 Density measurements, ISO 2846-1 Color and transparency of ink, ISO 3664 Viewing conditions, ISO 12218 Offset plate making, ISO 12646 Color displays - Characteristics and viewing, ISO 12647 (and TS 10128) Printing processes, ISO 13655 Spectral measurement and colorimetric computation, ISO 15076 ICC-Color Management, ISO 15930 PDF/X, ISO 17972 CxF and many others...
Each technical operation from design to print, excluding creative work, can be done today according to a standard.
Why do I need to implement Standards
Predictability and Repeatability have been the holy grail of the graphic industry probably since the beginning and especially since globalization and tough economy established themselves as a permanent part of the industry picture.
Desktop publishing, Digital workflows and ICC color management have undeniably contributed to getting the industry closer to these objectives, but without entirely fulfilling them yet.
Because an operator and a device can work differently at two different times for various reasons, digital data can produce unpredictable and unstable output even with the most sophisticated systems and skilled operators. To remove this instability factor, each device and each operation in the production chain should be controlled, validated and reported for traceability.
This is common sense and mandatory for a company to simply exist in the manufacturing industry.
Can you imagine a car, a computer, a table, or a yogurt manufacturer that can not produce two identical products on two different days or in two different plants?
Would you buy such a product if it existed? probably not. Then why would print buyers buy prints from printers who are unable to produce good and stable print quality?
KEE Consultants Printing Standards Initiative
The future of commercial printing industry will depend on its ability to adapt to the new market realities. Very soon, working to standards will become a requirement for all printers seeking clients beyond their neighborhood, as is the case for most manufacturing and production industries.
More than 1000 printers are currently compliant to PSO® or G7® and dozens are joining the list every month worldwide.
KEE Consultants' Printing Standards initiative goal is to help printers who wish to comply to PSO® or PSA® to do so in an efficient and cost effective way:
1. Gap Analysis Audit: This remote audit of the printer workflow and production system allows KEE Consultants to identify non conformities and areas of improvements in the print house in order to comply with FOGRA PSO® or RIT PSA® certifications, or both.
This audit consists of a comprehensive questionnaire, guidelines and testforms that need to be proofed and printed on production equipment and sent to KEE Consultants to be assessed.
2. Printing Standards Implementation Guide: Gap Analysis Audit Report and KEE's Printing Standards Implementation Guide will allow printers to implement printing standards internally or with the help of an external PSO® or PSA® consultant.
3. Printing Certification: Once the recommendations of KEE's GAA and the guidelines of KEE's Implementation Guide are completed, Printers wishing to receive a recognised industry certification can contact FOGRA or RIT to submit for PSO® or PSA® Certifications respectively.